"I Say unto You, My Brethren"

Helping Female Students See Themselves in the Book of Mormon

Cassidy Nichole Pyper

Cassidy Nichole Pyper, "'I Say unto You, My Brethren': Helping Female Students See Themselves in the Book of Mormon," Religious Educator 24, no. 3 (2023): 97–119.

Cassidy Nichole Pyper (cassidy.oldham@ChurchofJesusChrist.org) is a religious educator at Meridian Idaho Released-Time Seminary.

Picture of a seminary studentTeaching and sharing the stories of the women in the Book of Mormon can make a monumental difference in the life of young women in the Church. Courtesy of Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

Keywords: women, gender, Book of Mormon, teaching the gospel, faith

In 1 Nephi 14, an angel prophesied to Nephi that if the Gentiles heeded the words of the Savior, he would “manifest himself unto them in word, and also in power, and in very deed, unto the taking away of their stumbling blocks” (verse 1). The Book of Mormon uses the expression “stumbling blocks” multiple times throughout its text to describe obstacles that could cause someone to “stumble” or “err”[1] on their path to Christ and salvation. Like all of us, the youth and young adults of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints encounter stumbling blocks on their paths to the Savior. Many of the stumbling blocks for this rising generation include Church doctrines, teachings, scriptures, and practices that feel unequal, unfair, or exclusive to certain demographics.

What Is the Role of Religious Educators?

Stumbling blocks were never meant to be permanent landmarks. In the scripture quoted above, Christ promised that if we would heed his teachings, he would show forth his power even “unto the taking away of [our] stumbling blocks” (1 Nephi 14:1). As teachers of the gospel of Jesus Christ, we have an opportunity and an obligation to work with the Savior in helping our students remove their stumbling blocks. President M. Russell Ballard affirmed this responsibility:

You should be among the first, outside your students’ families, to introduce authoritative sources on topics that may be less well-known or controversial so your students will measure whatever they hear or read later against what you have already taught them.

You know we give medical inoculations to our precious missionaries before sending them into the mission field so they will be protected against diseases that can harm or even kill them. In a similar fashion, please, before you send them into the world, inoculate your students by providing faithful, thoughtful, and accurate interpretation of gospel doctrine, the scriptures, our history, and those topics that are sometimes misunderstood.[2]

Among those controversial topics that are “sometimes misunderstood,” President Ballard included gender issues. Especially recently, gender issues usually refers to gender dysphoria. As important and timely as that topic is, it is not the scope of this paper. Gender issues could also refer to gender inequality, which is the focus of this work.

As the Book of Mormon is the “keystone of our religion”[3] and a vital part of our curriculum, we should be prepared to answer, among other things, what questions we can about gender and the Book of Mormon. Generally, there are two preeminent concerns regarding women and the Book of Mormon: (1) the lack of female representation in the text and (2) the book’s frequent use of gender-exclusive (masculine) language. Throughout this paper, I will use the Book of Mormon and other sources to respond to these potential stumbling blocks, with the goal of giving teachers the resources they need to help diminish these stumbling blocks for their students. Further, this paper hopes to inspire teachers to find and teach more scriptures and stories that will reach their female students. First, I will address the lack of female representation in its cultural context. Second, I will present examples of how to interpret the book’s frequent use of gender-exclusive (masculine) language. And third, I will share stories of women in the Book of Mormon and how they could be used in both seminary and institute classrooms.

Lack of Female Representation in the Book of Mormon

Only six women are named in the Book of Mormon.[4] Masculine titles and pronouns are used 7,372 times, while those with female-specific connotations are used only 512.[5] There isn’t a single female author or redactor,[6] and only eight verses contain actual words of women (see 1 Nephi 5:2, 8; Alma 19:4–5, 9, 29; Ether 8:9–10). Some individuals have seen the lack of female representation in the Book of Mormon as a testament that the book is misogynist and may then conclude that it is not worth their time.[7] Others might question if the lack of women in God’s holy text equates to a lack of importance or love for God’s daughters.[8] This claim is understandable if the reader is only looking at the text from the lens of modern language and culture, which is how many of our students read it. Because we know the Book of Mormon was neither written nor translated in the latest century, presentism will not always portray the text’s original meaning accurately.

Fortunately, and unfortunately, the Book of Mormon is not anachronistic regarding its lack of female representation. Although the Bible names 172 more women than the Book of Mormon does, given its grander volume this only equates to approximately 3 percent of the named individuals.[9] The Bible is a “product of [a] patriarchal society.”[10] Additionally, if we compare the Book of Mormon to sources found on the same continent we find that there too is “little . . . known about women’s roles in Classic Maya society.” Individuals depicted in ancient Mayan art were “almost always males,” as positions of prominence were “roles that were traditionally masculine.”[11] In many ancient texts, women were not the focus because they didn’t have the power and they didn’t hold the pen.[12] The Book of Mormon is not alone in that “men made the decisions. Men did the ruling, the judging, and the prophesying. Men did the preaching. . . . Men defined the history and recorded it.”[13] However, a text and a people can be patriarchal without being misogynistic. Jewish scholar Tikva Frymer-Kensky points out that in the Hebrew, “the role of woman is clearly subordinate, but the Hebrew Bible does not ‘explain’ or justify this subordination by portraying women as different or inferior.” She derives this conclusion based on her analysis that in the Hebrew Bible there are “no negative statements and stereotypes about women, no gynophobic (‘woman-fearing’) discourse. The only misogynist statement in the Bible comes very late in biblical development, in the book of Ecclesiastes, and shows the introduction of the classical Greek denigration of women into Israel.”[14] The lack of negative statements and stereotypes is even more true in the Book of Mormon.[15] The “inspired sermons contain no hint of inequality between men and women,”[16] rather they continually proclaim an inclusive doctrine (see 1 Nephi 17:35; 2 Nephi 26:33; Mosiah 27:25; 3 Nephi 11:15–17). This wasn’t always so for ancient texts and their estimation of women. Aristotle stated that “we should look upon the female state as being as it were a deformity.”[17] Josephus interpreted that “the law says that the woman is in all things inferior to the man.”[18] In contrast to other contemporary works, “the wonder [of the Book of Mormon] is not that the practices seem to contradict the doctrine but that the doctrine so powerfully proclaims the worth of women and men alike.”[19]

It is encouraging to me that the inclusive doctrine of the Book of Mormon contradicts the exclusive practice of being male-centered, but it is understandable for a reader to hope for more from a book that is identified by prophets as “the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion.”[20] I have wrestled with this dichotomy myself and have contemplated on how “most correct” does not mean “perfectly correct.” Even Mormon, the redactor of the Book of Mormon, acknowledges that the book has weaknesses.[21] Additionally, “most correct” does not mean “complete.” The Church’s doctrine is explicit that there is more to come; “the Restoration is an ongoing process; we are living in it right now. It includes ‘all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal,’ and the ‘many great and important things’ that ‘He will yet reveal’ (Articles of Faith 1:9).”[22] Perhaps some of the things to be revealed pertain directly to the stories of women. To that point, “for a number of years now, the Church has been focusing attention on the faithful sisters in the Church and their contributions.”[23] We can look forward with excited anticipation to the “great and important things” to come while learning as much as we can from what we currently have regarding women in scripture and Church history.

While continuing to interpret the Book of Mormon with the lens of the “most correct of any book on earth,” it is important to view the Book of Mormon for the intent it was written. It is the most correct in the sense that an individual “would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.”[24] The title page of the Book of Mormon explains that its purpose “is to show unto the remnant of the house of Israel what great things the Lord hath done for their fathers. . . . And also to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God, manifesting himself unto all nations.” The Book of Mormon can fulfill both these purposes for women and men while still being androcentric.

The Book of Mormon is not a social commentary; it does not have a masculine agenda. I have wondered if there would have been any negative repercussions if the Book of Mormon had contained equal representation of women. Besides being labeled anachronistic,[25] it potentially could have appeared as having a feminist agenda, as it was published only a few years before the first wave of the feminist movement. But because it initially emerged unremarkable in the nineteenth century for its portrayals of gender, gender did not distract from its true Christological agenda. As much as I want the Book of Mormon to contain more stories of women, by women, I acknowledge that it does a masterful job at accomplishing its divine purpose of inviting readers to “come unto Christ, and be perfected in him” (Moroni 10:32). It speaks to the divinity of the text that it can be imperfect in its representation of women and still “talk of . . . rejoice in . . . preach . . . and prophecy of Christ” in a way that invites even female readers to “know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins” (2 Nephi 25:26).[26] This was true even at the very beginnings of the Book of Mormon’s publishing—women were receiving their own witness of the Book of Mormon.[27] This could explain why a change to gender-inclusive terms in the translation of the Book of Mormon would have seemed unnecessary to Joseph Smith. Women were adept at finding themselves in male-centered texts already. “Consequently, for nineteenth-century women, the absence of female characters in The Book of Mormon may not have suggested a diminished role for women in actuality.”[28]

What does this mean for twenty-first-century women? Although the Book of Mormon isn’t where some may wish it was regarding its inclusion of females, it is helpful to acknowledge that it was better than what one could have expected from a manuscript of its time.[29] At the beginnings of the Church its “male-centered scriptural, institutional, and social focus did not deter women from joining the LDS Church and embracing the Book of Mormon as a meaningful religious document.” And it doesn’t have to today. Susanna Morrill continued: “LDS women did not simply accept the patriarchal focus of the Book of Mormon; they actively interpreted this new scriptural tradition for their own circumstances.”[30] As seminary and institute teachers we can help our students do the same. Once we help them understand why the lack of female representation may have originated, they do not have to “simply accept the patriarchal focus of the Book of Mormon,” but rather we can help them “actively interpret” the scriptures “for their own circumstances.” The rest of the article will give suggestions on how we can do that.

Interpreting the Book of Mormon’s Frequent Use of Gender-Exclusive Language

While moving forward past the stumbling block of the lack of female representation in the Book of Mormon, some readers may stumble upon another concern: the lack of acknowledgment of female audience members. Because many of the sermons begin with introductions such as “my brethren” (see Mosiah 2:9; Alma 5:6; 13:13), some readers may feel that the text “is directed only to men” and that “the Book of Mormon assumed a solely male audience for its salvific message.”[31] This interpretation can be very problematic as it cuts off approximately half of the audience of the Book of Mormon, both anciently and modernly. To curtail this concern, we will first look at potential alternative readings of masculine terms such as brethren, and second, we will discern how to interpret the gender-exclusive (masculine) language.

It is commonly understood that in the late modern period, men generally was a term denoting “humankind,” and the 1828 dictionary supports this understanding.[32] Less prevalent, however, is that the term brethren may be defined in much the same way. The third definition for brother in the 1828 dictionary explains that “kings give to each other the title of brother [and] address their congregations by the title of brethren. In a more general sense, brother or brethren is used for man in general; all men being children of the same primitive ancestors, and forming one race of beings.”[33] If we use the above definition of “humankind” in place of “man in general” and “all men,” then a possible reading of brethren during the time period of the translation of the Book of Mormon could be “[humankind] in general, all [humankind] being children of the same primitive ancestors and forming one race of beings.” This reading is supported by use of congregations in the definition, which can reasonably be read as gender-inclusive depending on its context. Further, if this definition was exclusively speaking about males, then couldn’t the definition accurately be read as “all men being [sons] of the same primitive ancestors?” As it does not read that clearly, it leaves the possibility that in 1828 brethren could be used when addressing a congregation of humankind: women and men.

This inclusive use of brethren is how some modern versions of the Bible are translating the word; where brethren once occurred it is being replaced with “brothers and sisters.”[34] One biblical scholar concludes, “There is plenty of unambiguous evidence, both in the New Testament and outside of it, that ‘brothers’ very often meant what we mean by ‘brothers and sisters.’ Thus within the New Testament, Paul can address the Philippian believers as ‘my brothers’ (Phil. 4:1 NIV) and immediately start addressing two of the women in the church (Phil. 4:2–3; see also 1 Cor. 7:15; James 2:15).”[35] We see this in languages still used today. For example, in Cakchiquel, a modern Mayan language, “they use itz’iin, which is basically ‘brother.’ In Ch’orti’ Maya, the same term can be used for brother or sister depending on the context (ijtz’in).”[36] These findings indicate that brethren may have been used in translation by Joseph Smith for words addressing male and female audiences.

Another indication that brethren could be used gender inclusively is in the relationship between how the words people and brethren are used together in the book of Alma. When a possessive pronoun doesn’t appear before the term people, the word is used almost exclusively for a group of individuals being talked about. When “my brethren” is used, the term refers to a congregation being directly addressed. We see this illustrated in Alma 5, where Mormon introduces the sermon by saying that Alma “began to deliver the word of God unto the people” (verse 1). Note that this verse is talking about the people of Zarahemla. As soon as Alma begins to speak to them, he says, “And now behold, I say unto you, my brethren” (verse 6). In his epistle, King Mosiah even changed his phrasing from “my people” to “my brethren” to emphasize the familial relationship he felt between himself and his audience: “Behold, O ye my people, or my brethren, for I esteem you as such” (Mosiah 29:5). The phrase “my brethren” in these verses, and several other verses, is used to express camaraderie between the speaker and the entire audience and not necessarily as a way to omit the female attendees.

While we see that brethren as a term can be inclusive, it may be helpful to point out to our students instances where the authors and redactors intended women specifically to be receivers of their teachings. As an example, a teacher could share that Alma the Younger’s inclusion of women begins with his first spoken words in Mosiah 27. Arising from his spiritual coma, he acknowledges his redemption through Christ and then testifies that “all mankind, yea, men and women, all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, must be born again” (verse 25). Here, Alma immediately defines his message to include women. When he begins his ministry, it states that he traveled “round about through all the land, publishing to all the people” (verse 32). All individuals, women and men, were his audience. This pattern continued throughout his ministry.[37]

The tricky part of interpretating words such as brethren and man is that in some instances the authors are referring to males. Context clues are the best way to interpret when the words are gender inclusive. As an example of direct teaching of female audience members with straightforward uses of male and female terminology, teachers can use “one of the most inclusive verses in the Book of Mormon.”[38] In Alma 32, Alma was explicit that what he was teaching was for women when he taught that God “imparteth his word by angels unto men, yea, not only men but women also” (verse 23). This time when Alma uses “men” he means males, and we know this because he references the women separately. Perhaps he was so explicit because he and Amulek were both males and had received angelic visitation, and he wanted to be unmistakable that these heavenly visits were not men-only experiences. Or maybe he emphasized women because of something that was on his mind after what had transpired with the women and children at Ammonihah.[39] Either way, it is apparent that women were among Alma’s intended audience in this sermon.

In my studies of the book of Alma, I came across only one sermon for which there is suggestive evidence that Alma explicitly addresses only men, and even this example highlights how women are intentionally included in the message even when they may not be present. The context clues that first alerted me that this may not be a male and female audience came in the final verse of the sermon where Alma leaves a blessing on the congregation. “And now, may the peace of God rest upon you, and upon your houses and lands, and upon your flocks and herds, and all that you possess, your women and your children, according to your faith and good works, from this time forth and forever” (Alma 7:27). Alma blesses only the men directly, blessing the women, children, and the men’s possessions vicariously through them. This would be indicative of Alma ignoring women if they were present for the sermon; however, this is where we find more context clues—they may not be in attendance at all. In Alma 7:22, Alma invites the audience to awake, using similar language to that of Lehi speaking to his sons: “And now my beloved brethren, I have said these things unto you that I might awaken you to a sense of your duty to God.” This might be compared with 2 Nephi 1:23: “Awake, my sons; put on the armor of righteousness.” Lehi specifies that he is addressing his sons, a solely male audience, and it is interesting that Alma uses similar verbiage to his likely male audience. Much more important, interpretively, is how Alma continues after inviting the men to awake as Lehi did: “that ye may walk blameless before him, that ye may walk after the holy order of God, after which ye have been received” (Alma 7:22). Those in the gathering have been received by the holy order of God or, in other words, are bearers of the priesthood. Everyone who is baptized into the Nephite church presumably did so by this same priesthood power, yet Alma’s language differs when he elsewhere speaks to the baptized population. In Alma 5, for example, he speaks of people being “brought into this church” by the “holy order of God” (verse 54). There is, it seems, a difference between being “brought into the church” by the holy order and being “received” after the holy order. The word received is also used in Alma 13:18, in the chapter that goes into the most detail about the holy order. Alma speaks of the high priest Melchizedek who “received the office of the high priesthood according to the holy order of God.” We see here that received is the term Alma used to denote those who were ordained to an office of the priesthood. In Alma 7:22, then, it seems that Alma directly speaks to priesthood bearers, increasing the probability of his audience in Alma 7 being exclusively male.

If this is the case, then it increases the probability that Alma meant for women to hear his messages generally because in a potentially male-only audience Alma preaches a decidedly gender-inclusive sermon. He preaches that Christ will “take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people. And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities” (Alma 7:11–12, emphasis added).

As we prepare lessons, we can be conscious of context clues that highlight when women are intentionally included in the audience and, even when they are not, how the doctrine applies directly to them. “Many of us fail to notice what mention there is of women in the [Book of Momon] either because it is what we expect or because it is not. . . . We may come closer to understanding God’s intent by means of the strenuous, familiar, process: ponder, ask God, humbly listen, and ponder again.”[40]

Being Inclusive of Women in the Teaching of the Book of Mormon

Our task then moves from “counting the number of women, [and] assessing their prominence in the text” to deciding “how we are to interpret the apparent absence of women in the Book of Mormon.”[41] Some readers initially believe that women are “next to nonexistent in the scriptures,” concluding “that the apparent dearth of women in the scriptures implied they were insignificant or unimportant.” However, after a slower and more careful reading they too can discover that “examples of our ancient Book of Mormon sisters are there; and if we use what we have and become personally acquainted with them, this can aid us all—male and female—in our growth in the gospel.”[42]

The way we as religious educators teach the Book of Mormon and interpret the absence of women will influence how our students wrestle with these types of concerns. When we intently look for, study, and teach the stories of the named and unnamed women of the Book of Mormon, “one comes to realize that often even the more dramatic elements of the history depend on” them. [43] Former BYU professor and chair of the Department of Ancient Scripture Camille Fronk explained that the very fact that it was rare to find women in ancient texts means that “instances in which women are included in [the Book of Mormon] should be regarded not as inconsequential but as worthy of serious consideration.”[44] Various scholars and authors have undertaken the quest of discovering, interpreting, and sharing stories of the named and unnamed women of the text.[45] The balance of this paper will be used to discuss two methods of teaching and identifying consequential stories of and verses related to women, with examples of how to use them in a classroom. These examples are given with the hope of inspiring educators to discover and teach the powerful but less conspicuous female stories themselves.

Teaching Women in the Book of Mormon

The 2017 Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual begins the lesson outline for 1 Nephi 17 by reading of the difficulties and blessings Nephi’s family received in 1 Nephi 17:1–2. The principle identified is “if we keep the commandments, then the Lord will strengthen us and provide means for us to accomplish that which He has commanded.”[46] This principle becomes more powerful when we focus on the experiences of the women in the party. What did the Lord want them to accomplish? He wanted them to sojourn to the promised land (see 1 Nephi 2:2; 17:3). What sacrifices did this commandment ask of the women? In her article “Deseret Epiphany: Sariah and the Women in 1 Nephi,” Camille Fronk does an excellent job at using extratextual sources to reread the journey into the wilderness in 1 Nephi from the perspective of the female travelers. She mentions they left their comfortable routine and possessions and experienced “severe hunger and thirst,” threats for the welfare of their lives, and long periods of travel with delays in their journey. She also provides a list of impressive responsibilities specific to the women: “In addition to their duty to carry, deliver, and nourish children, desert women assumed a daunting list of other responsibilities. They collected water, gathered firewood, churned butter, [and] guarded flocks,” even being the ones responsible for the set up and take down of tents.[47] In the midst of all of this, their father dies.

Referring to the manual’s principle, “if we keep the commandments, then the Lord will strengthen us and provide means for us to accomplish that which He has commanded.” Two of the commandments we see the woman keeping are continuing to the promised land and demonstrating faith in the Lord. The women showed faith by bearing children and continuing in the journey while they were pregnant, while they were giving birth, while they were raising young ones, and while they were responsible for their extensive duties. I can imagine that it would take great faith to eat raw meat as a pregnant or nursing woman. It would take great faith for me to eat raw meat, period. The way the Lord strengthened and provided for the women is by making them physically and mentally strong to the point that they were forever changed. When their father passed away, “the daughters of Ishmael did mourn exceedingly, because of the loss of their father, and because of their afflictions in the wilderness.” Not only did they mourn but they also “did murmur against [Lehi], and also against [Nephi]; and they were desirous to return again to Jerusalem” (1 Nephi 16:35–36). Although Laman, Lemuel, and the sons of Ishmael are the last complainers to be mentioned in chapter 16, verse 39 seems to be for all those complaining: “The Lord came and did speak many words unto them, and did chasten them exceedingly; and after they were chastened by the voice of the Lord they did turn away their anger, and did repent of their sins.” Later, Nephi’s brothers again begin to murmur, yet the women do not. What was the difference? Why do the wives complain no more but Laman and Lemuel do? While Laman and Lemuel turned away their anger for a time (see 1 Nephi 16:39; 17:20), the women turned away completely from their negative behavior. Notice the change—the women were made strong by the Lord and “began to bear their journeyings without murmurings” (1 Nephi 17:2). Their acts of faith literally changed them. “For after the trial of their faith, Nephi gave these women the sublime compliment from a male perspective: ‘our women . . . were strong, yea, even like unto the men’ (1 Nephi 17:2). . . . The message inferred,” Fronk adds, “is that if these women, who had been wrenched from a relatively comfortable urban life, could become strong through their extreme afflictions, then so can you and I.”[48]

Teaching the story from the female perspective adds depth and dimension to the initial principle. The way God strengthened the women for keeping his commandments is by literally changing their ability to digest raw food and making them physically strong. There are other instances in the Book of Mormon of God changing people. One of the more discussed is that of Alma the Younger. It is a powerful account, but not everyone can relate to changing from “the very vilest of sinners” to becoming a prophet (see Mosiah 27–28). The women in 1 Nephi 17 went from complaining and wanting to return home to bearing their burdens “without murmuring.” That’s the type of change that some of our students are longing for and want to believe is possible.

Another important reason for teaching 1 Nephi 17 with a focus on women is that the principle taught is similar to that taught in 1 Nephi 3:7, but this time it gives female students a chance to see the principle working in a woman’s life. Not only can God help a man accomplish what he has commanded, like he did with Nephi, but he can also help a woman do the same. It emphasizes that this principle is just as true for women and can apply to their unique needs. Nephi needed to get the plates, and the women needed to nurse their children given the lack of appropriate nourishment. God made both happen. Whatever it is that our youth are facing, whatever God is asking of them, he can make it happen and he can make it happen with them. If we only give male examples of the principles we are teaching, the sisters in our classroom may not believe that what we are saying applies to them too. Teaching about the wives in 1 Nephi clearly demonstrates that God blesses his daughters and works with them, just as he does for his sons.

As a second example I pull from the work of Jerri Hurd, who does an in-depth study of many unnamed women in the Book of Mormon in her book. Specifically, I am moved by her interpretation of the maidservant of Morianton. Morianton had inspired the people of Morianton to take the land northward, which was inhabited by Nephites. His plan was foiled due to the bravery of his maidservant. After receiving a beating by his hand, she fled to Moroni and divulged her former master’s plan, allowing time for the armies of Moroni to head up Morianton’s army and defeat them before they could accomplish destruction. Hurd explains that “Morianton’s maidservant may or may not have perceived the larger ramifications of her actions. But whatever her motive, it was firmly rooted in a sense of her own self-worth. She was not willing to submit to personal violence and took the most direct and effective action available to her.”[49] The story of the maidservant is a faith-promoting story to women and individuals who have been stricken by abuse and those who feel stuck in undesirable circumstances. Morianton’s maidservant teaches that we can remove ourselves from harmful situations, rise above heartache, and change the course of history. I shared this example at the young women session of FSY this past summer. I talked about how many of the young women may feel unnamed and unnoticed. But they are not. The maidservant reminds us that our righteous efforts to rise above the hurt of our life and choose Jesus when we could choose anger and resentment can save our own life and the spiritual lives of those around us.

Like the maidservant, we may never be called to obvious positions of power or prominence, but that does not mean that our choices can’t be powerful and prominent. One young woman shared with me that the devotional completely changed the way she thought about her future. She felt she was meant for more, and she is right! President Nelson also agrees with her. Speaking of the gathering of Israel, he told the youth that “if you choose to, if you want to, you can be a big part of it. You can be a big part of something big, something grand, something majestic!”[50] If we only share examples from the scriptures of men with prominent titles and callings gathering Israel and doing God’s work, then we quietly share the message that you can only do something big if you have a big assignment, and only if you are a man. As seminary and institute teachers we know that’s not true, and we need to do a better job at making sure that isn’t the message we are sharing by the types of examples we give in our classrooms. There are plenty of stories of women in the Book of Mormon who gathered Israel and did God’s work: “Without the young daughter of Ishmael who pled for his life, Nephi would never have arrived in America; without Abish, Ammon and his brothers would never have converted the Lamanites; without Morianton’s maidservant, Mormon would have lost the land northward; and without the faithful mothers of the stripling warriors, Helaman would have lost an army and likely a free nation. The writers of the Book of Mormon knew that, and though writing on metal plates was difficult and demanded brevity, they were careful to include the contributions of their sisters.”[51] We can discover these and other examples of women contributing to God’s work in the Book of Mormon. To find them, we need to take the advice of Joseph Spencer who suggests that “the Book of Mormon, despite initial appearances, has much of interest and relevance to say about gender.” He continues, “It seems to me that we will not get far on difficult topics like this without slowing down and investigating the details we are too likely to miss when we zoom out and try to take in the big picture.”[52] Since my days of preservice, I was taught to slow down and investigate the details to find the principles in any given chapter. These very skills we as teachers have already been taught can be used to help us discover principles from the stories of women in the Book of Mormon, and what we find can help us do an even better job at inspiring the young women, and the young men, to be a part of this “grand” and “majestic” work!

Identify feminine characteristics of Christ

Another way to share examples of how the text applies to women is demonstrated in something seminary and institute teachers are already inclined to do: identify Christlike attributes. Both Christ and Heavenly Father are male. They are associated with male pronouns and often associated with male attributes. Most importantly, they are perfect beings, which means they embody all attributes perfectly (see 3 Nephi 12:48), including those attributes that are stereotypically associated with women. Identifying feminine attributes in Christ and the Father can help women feel more connected to them. Additionally, identifying those attributes can help all individuals in the class understand God and Jesus Christ better. Elder Holland did this in general conference years ago when he compared the Savior’s love to that of a mother’s love. “No love in mortality comes closer to approximating the pure love of Jesus Christ than the selfless love a devoted mother has for her child. When Isaiah, speaking messianically, wanted to convey Jehovah’s love, he invoked the image of a mother’s devotion. ‘Can a woman forget her sucking child?’ he asks. How absurd, he implies, though not as absurd as thinking Christ will ever forget us (Isaiah 49:15).”[53]

Phyllis Trible, one of the leading scholars in feminist interpretations, demonstrates how to do this in a similar fashion. She used the example of Yahweh providing food and drink during the Exodus. She points out that providing nourishment in the days of the Exodus was generally the role of a mother. In Numbers 11:12, Yahweh proclaims, “Have I conceived all this people? have I begotten them, that thou shouldest say unto me, Carry them in thy bosom, as a nursing father beareth the sucking child, unto the land which thou swarest unto their fathers?” Trible points out that Yahweh uses feminine roles to describe himself as a “mother and nurse of the wandering children.”[54] Elder Holland points out other motherly terms used to denote the Savior, such as “bear and borne, carry and lift, labor and deliver.”[55]

Besides my husband, my mother is the first person that I call when I am sick or in pain because she is amazing at empathy and validates me so deeply. I truly believe she would do anything she could to relieve my suffering if it was within her power. My mom is my greatest cheerleader. She believes I can do anything, even when I don’t believe that. As I think of my own mother’s sacrifice and love for me and compare that to my Savior’s, I understand his love more intimately. When I am hurt, he hurts with me because, even more than my own mother, he understands my pain perfectly. He is empathetic not because he can imagine what I am feeling but because he has felt it (see Alma 7:11–13). I know he would do all he could to help me because he already has. He is my advocate (see 1 John 2:1), and with him I can do anything (see Philippians 4:13). Connecting Jesus Christ to motherly qualities illustrates his perfect, enduring, unfailing love and helps us understand him better.[56]

We see another example of this in the Book of Mormon when Christ compares himself to a mother who would not forget her sucking child (see 1 Nephi 21:15). Jesus Christ is not a man far removed from the experiences and feelings of woman; he uses these feminine characteristics to show that he is like them. He understands them. Christ suffered “pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind . . . of his people” (Alma 7:11, emphasis added), including his female people and the pains, afflictions, and temptations that are unique to them. Former first counselor in the Relief Society general presidency Chieko N. Okazaki personalized it further for women:

There is nothing you have experienced as a woman that he [Christ] does not also know and recognize. On a profound level, he understands the hunger to hold your baby that sustains you through pregnancy. He understands both the physical pain of giving birth and the immense joy. He knows about PMS and cramps and menopause. He understands about rape and infertility and abortion. His last recorded words to his disciples were, “And, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20).[57]

Because of Christ’s suffering in the garden and on the cross, he is qualified to intimately understand women and relate himself to their exclusive female experiences. For example, in 3 Nephi 10, after the Book of Mormon peoples had been sitting in darkness and silence for hours following the destruction and deaths in the wake of Christ’s crucifixion, Christ’s voice is heard telling them that he has “gathered [them] as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings” (3 Nephi 10:4). Jane Allis-Pike explained the justification in Christ’s simile when she said, “It may seem paradoxical that Christ would choose to compare himself to a hen, since he is neither a female nor a mother. However, Christ, as a god, is the only ‘man’ who can be compared with a woman, at least in her capacity to give birth. . . . He has specific qualities found only in the purview of women and mothers.” She compares Christ to a mother again when she explains that “in creating the world on which we live and thrive, Christ, in chicken terms, has created an ‘incubator’ that allows us to ‘hatch.’ . . . Just as the mother hen literally uses her body to protect her chicks’ lives, Christ literally uses his body to protect his ‘children’ from both physical and spiritual destruction.”[58]

I saw this illustrated in real time one day on a bike ride. I live close to a trail that rides along a canal with frequent duck visitors. This particular day a duck was sitting very close to the trail. I expected her to fly into the canal when I rode past her, but the closer I got the firmer she sat. I noticed just as I was passing that she bulked up her wings, bracing in case I hit her, and underneath those wings I saw little duckling feet. She wasn’t jumping into the water because she was protecting her ducklings from me. I immediately thought of the Savior and the hen metaphor. Just as this mother duck was willing to stand between her ducklings and danger, putting herself at risk, so did Christ. He stood between me and justice and said, “You cannot have her, take me instead.” He took the beating so I don’t have to (see Doctrine and Covenants 19:15–19).

Out of all the things Christ could say after the three days of darkness, he chose to highlight his feminine characteristics that make him approachable, loving, and kind. Pike adds, “When Christ speaks to the survivors out of the blackness, the hen metaphor is a beacon of light in a literally dark world. Christ affirms to his suffering people that like the ever faithful mother hen, he is always there, ever watchful, ever loving.”[59]

As religious educators our purpose is conversion to Christ. Williams questioned, “Can our youth, most of whom are aware of disparities between the sexes, find Christ in the Book of Mormon if they cannot find women there?”[60] Understanding the feminine attributes of Christ and the way he understands woman on a profound level may help to do both; it not only encourages woman to find themselves in the text but it propels them to find themselves in Christ.


One day during my sophomore year of high school I got called down to the front office. I didn’t know why and was probably anxious, but when I walked in the secretary handed me a single rose and an old-fashioned-looking letter on parchment, complete with burnt edges. It wasn’t a love note. I wasn’t being asked to a dance. And it wasn’t from my parents. To this day I do not know who wrote that note, but I do remember what it said. The letter thanked me for my example and stated that the young men writing the note wanted to be better after being around me. It was signed by an anonymous group of young men. I noticed a few other girls with similar roses and notes that day. There weren’t many, and all our letters were unique. Whenever I think back to that letter I am touched to tears. In that moment I felt what I think most young people long to feel. I was seen! I was noticed! My efforts to choose the right were actually making a difference. Young women especially need the chance to feel seen and noticed and have their righteous efforts acknowledged. Young men seem to have a lot more training on their priesthood duties, and therefore probably get more feedback than the young women do. They are seen passing and blessing the sacrament and fulfilling their specified priesthood responsibilities. Some young women may feel they do not get the opportunities that the young men get, and therefore it could lead them to feeling that they are less valued in God’s kingdom. Spending time teaching and talking about the women of the Book of Mormon and sharing their stories could do for those young women what that anonymous letter did for me. If the young women see us noticing, commenting, and teaching about the unnamed women in the text, they may begin to see how their quiet efforts can make a monumental difference. If we ignore the women in the Book of Mormon because their stories seem small or insignificant, we may unintentionally ignore the students in our classrooms who see themselves the same way.

In an interview with Neylan McBaine, creator of the Mormon Women Conversation, Neylan stated that “the best thing we could do” to help the young women in our classrooms is to “not insist that she constantly be making the cognitive leap of seeing herself in male heroes. . . . It’s a translating process that I think exhausts our girls. . . . Not all of them do that translation effectively or efficiently. And I think that when we assume that they are making those gender translations, we over-burden their spiritual capacity. We overtax the willing suspension of disbelief that already comes with choosing faith. We’re already asking them to choose faith. We’re already asking them to go so far, and we’re trying to create experiences so that the Holy Ghost can bridge that gap. What a gift to not make our girls go that extra distance, you know?” Let’s be that gift to them by deliberately teaching female examples from the scriptures. Discovering and teaching these stories will take great work on our part as teachers. We will have to “take a lot of initiative to improve the optics, administration, and ecclesiastical authority of women today.”[61] It will require faith and study, but what else is new!

Former President of the Church Gordon B. Hinckley explained that in the beginning, “Eve became God’s final creation, the grand summation of all of the marvelous work that had gone before.” God’s creation wasn’t complete until a woman was on the earth.[62] I believe this is true of God’s earth as it is true for his work and his scripture; it cannot be complete until women have found their place in it. As religious educators we have an important role to play in helping individuals remove the stumbling blocks that keep them from seeing themselves in God’s work. As I have taken it upon myself to study these things, there are times I have felt discouraged: moments when certain passages of scriptures seemed misogynist or women’s voices appeared extra silent. Every time I have turned to the Lord in prayer, he has inspired me to look deeper until he has helped me see fascinating insights and new possibilities. He will help us as we embark on the journey to help his daughters understand their place in his kingdom.


[1]Webster’s Dictionary 1828—Online, s.v. “stumbling-block,” https://webstersdictionary1828.com/Dictionary/stumbling-block.

[2] M. Russell Ballard, “The Opportunities and Responsibilities of CES Teachers in the 21st Century” (address to Church Educational System religious educators, February 26, 2016), https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/broadcasts/article/evening-with-a-general-authority/2016/02/the-opportunities-and-responsibilities-of-ces-teachers-in-the-21st-century.

[3] Introduction to the Book of Mormon.

[4] The six named woman are Sariah, Mary, Eve, Sarah, Abish, and Isabel, three of whom are from the Bible. Camille S. Williams, “Women in the Book of Mormon: Inclusion, Exclusion, and Interpretation,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 11 (2002): 71.

[5] For the data on the feminine terms, see Wendy Hamilton Christian, “‘And Well She Can Persuade’: The Power and Presence of Women in the Book of Mormon” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 2002), 60. To compile the number of masculine terms, I calculated from Christian’s research the number of times the following terms are used in the Book of Mormon: men, man, son(s), father(s), king(s), he, him, his, brother(s), husband(s), master, brethren, commander, captain, leader, priest(s), and elder(s).

[6] At least none that we are aware of.

[7] Melodie Moench Charles describes the male preachers in the Book of Mormon as being oblivious to the women, or worse, ignoring them completely. Melodie Moench Charles, “Precedents for Mormon Women from Scriptures,” in Sisters in Spirit: Mormon Women in Historical and Cultural Perspective, ed. Maureen Ursenbach Beecher and Lavina Fielding Anderson (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1992), 51. Carol Lynn Pearson calls herself an “unwelcome visitor . . . a stranger in a strange land” and “an outsider overhearing something important that is going on in another room.” She states that the book does not “invite women,” and she feels she needs to put away her femaleness in order to read it. Carol Lynn Pearson, “Could Feminism Have Saved the Nephites?,” Sunstone 19, no. 1 (March 1996): 34–35.

[8] “In final summary, I have come a long way from my earlier impressions that women were next to nonexistent in the scriptures. I think I was originally motivated to study that premise by a disturbing feeling that the apparent dearth of women in the scriptures implied they were insignificant or unimportant.” Marjorie Meads Spencer, “My Book of Mormon Sisters,” Ensign, September 1977, 71.

[9] I found my number for the named women in the Bible (178) in Jaime Clark-Soles, Women in the Bible: Interpretation: Resources for the Use of Scripture in the Church (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2020), 8. I divided the number of named women in the Bible by the approximate number of named men.

[10] Tikva Frymer-Kensky, Reading the Women of the Bible: A New Interpretation of Their Stories (New York: Schocken, 2002), xv.

[11] Erika A. Hewitt, “What’s in a Name: Gender, Power, and Classic Maya Women Rulers,” Ancient Mesoamerica 10, no. 2 (1999): 251.

[12] The “pen” refers to man’s control over writing history. “The pen has been defined as not just accidentally but essentially a male ‘tool,’ and therefore not only inappropriate but actually alien to women.” Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar, The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000), 8.

[13] Francine R. Bennion, “Women and the Book of Mormon: Tradition and Revelation,” in Women of Wisdom and Knowledge: Talks Selected from the BYU Women’s Conferences, ed. Marie Cornwall and Susan Howe (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1990), 171.

[14] Frymer-Kensky, Reading the Women of the Bible, xv–xvi.

[15] For example, “Part of the ‘argument’ against women in leadership comes from passages of the Bible, especially 1 Timothy 2, Corinthians 14:33–36, and the household codes of Ephesians.” Clark-Soles, Women in the Bible, 1. There are no such direct negative preachings against women in the Book of Mormon.

[16] Camille Fronk, “Desert Epiphany: Sariah and the Women in 1 Nephi,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 9, no. 2 (2000): 6.

[17] Aristotle, as quoted in Clark-Soles, Women in the Bible, 2.

[18] Josephus, as quoted in Clark-Soles, Women in the Bible, 2.

[19] Bennion, “Women and the Book of Mormon,” 177.

[20] Introduction to the Book of Mormon.

[21] “And now, if there are faults they are the mistakes of men; wherefore, condemn not the things of God, that ye may be found spotless at the judgment-seat of Christ” (title page of the Book of Mormon).

[22] Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Are You Sleeping through the Restoration?,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2014, 59.

[23] “For example, I invite you to examine the topic of ‘Women of Conviction’ on the Church History Library webpage.” M. Russell Ballard, “Women of Dedication, Faith, Determination, and Action” (address given at BYU Women’s Conference, May 2015), http://davidson-law.net/CR/2015%20BYU%20BallardMR.pdf.

[24] Introduction to the Book of Mormon.

[25] “Commandments for inclusion might have had results that would now dismay us: had the text included as many named women as men, or many women functioning equally in the public sphere, it is likely that today’s critics would view such an ‘ancient’ society as anachronistic and see the inclusion as evidence that the Book of Mormon is not an authentic ancient text.” Williams, “Inclusion, Exclusion, and Interpretation,” 74–75.

[26] As touched on earlier, if twenty-first-century readers examine the Book of Mormon with twenty-first-century lenses, they may only be able to see sexism, misogyny, and female oppression. Yet is it possible that if the women from antiquity were allowed to speak, they would not view their world from that same lens? The redactor of the Book of Mormon was a military leader for most of his life. As such he “devoted much of the Book of Mormon to depictions of war. Yet, like most women in much of the rest of the ancient world, pre-Columbian American women rarely participated in warfare. Thus, much of the book discusses an activity that women would not be directly involved with.” Book of Mormon Central, “Why Are So Few Women Mentioned in the Book of Mormon?,” KnoWhy 391, August 21, 2019, https://knowhy.bookofmormoncentral.org/knowhy/why-are-so-few-women-mentioned-in-the-book-of-mormon#footnote7_skwuct2. Women were primarily mothers and homemakers, and therefore they were not out on the battlefields, nor were they official evangelists (another consistent storyline of the Book of Mormon). Women were raising the future mothers, war heroes, and missionaries. Although this may not seem as significant as the commonly mentioned male heroes of the Book of Mormon, a woman’s role in her home and her family would have been seen as “her highest personal and social reward.” Phyllis A. Bird, Missing Persons and Mistaken Identities: Women and Gender in Ancient Israel (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1997), 55. We cannot automatically undermine this concept simply “because our larger contemporary culture does not value mothering.” Williams, “Inclusion, Exclusion, and Interpretation,” 73.

It could be possible that women were not bothered by their lack of representation in the record because they were fulfilling their roles in their society. We see evidence in the Book of Mormon of the male and female roles being like those mentioned in the family proclamation. There are instances of women nurturing (see 1 Nephi 7:19; Alma 56:47), which is the primary responsibility of mothers in the proclamation (see “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” paragraph 7). Further, women are mentioned in conjunction with children over twenty-five times, possibly suggesting their interdependence—children on mothers for nurturing and mothers on children for fulfillment of that role (for example, see 1 Nephi 17:1–2; Mosiah 10:9; Alma 3:2; 53:7; Helaman 15:2; 3 Nephi 3:13; Mormon 4:14; Ether 14:17; Moroni 9:19).

Men are seen fulfilling roles like those stated for fathers in the family proclamation. These roles give potential insight into further reasons why men may have overseen the record. “By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families” (“The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” paragraph 7). Throughout the Book of Mormon, we see fathers presiding over (see 2 Nephi 1–4; Alma 36–42), providing for (see 1 Nephi 16:14; Alma 53:7), and protecting their families (see Mosiah 10:9; 3 Nephi 2:12). These responsibilities are similarly fulfilled by prophets and leaders in charge of keeping the record. All specific mentions of those responsible for (or presiding over) the record are men (1 Nephi 19:4; Jacob 1:2; 7:27; Omni 1:1, 3; Jarom 1:1; Words of Mormon 1:9–11). The record allowed them to provide spiritually for their posterity (see 1 Nephi 19:3), and the record keepers were charged with preserving, or in other words protecting, the record (see 1 Nephi 5:19; Jacob 1:3; Jarom 1:15; Words of Mormon 1:11; Alma 37:4–5).

[27] “Four women in early Church history—Mary Musselman Whitmer, Lucy Mack Smith, Lucy Harris, and Emma Hale Smith—played significant roles in the coming forth of the Book of Mormon and offered their own witnesses of the plates’ reality.” Amy Easton-Flake and Rachel Cope, “A Multiplicity of Witnesses: Women and the Translation Process,” in The Coming Forth of the Book of Mormon: A Marvelous Work and a Wonder, ed. Dennis L. Largey, Andrew H. Hedges, John Hilton III, and Kerry M. Hull (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University; Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2015), 133–53.

[28]“Nineteenth-century women well versed in the Bible and patriarchal church structures were accustomed to religious texts highlighting male rather than female actions; they were adept at finding meaning—and also themselves—in the stories of men.” Amy Easton-Flake, “‘Arise from the Dust, My Sons, and Be Men’: Masculinity in the Book of Mormon,” in Americanist Approaches to the Book of Mormon, ed. Elizabeth Fenton and Jared Hickman (New York: Oxford University Press, 2019), 372.

[29] “The wonder is not that there is so little about women in the Book of Mormon but that there is so much, given the times and traditions.” Bennion, “Women and the Book of Mormon,” 177.

[30] Susanna Morrill, “Women and the Book of Mormon: The Creation and Negotiation of a Latter-day

Saint Tradition,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 26, no. 1, 87.

[31] Lynn Matthews Anderson, “Toward a Feminist Interpretation of Latter-day Scripture,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 27, no. 2 (1994): 188.

[32] The first definition of man in Webster’s 1828 dictionary says, “Mankind; the human race; the whole species of human beings.” Webster’s Dictionary 1828—Online, s.v. “man,” https://webstersdictionary1828.com/Dictionary/man.

[33]Webster’s Dictionary 1828—Online, s.v. “brother,” https://webstersdictionary1828.com/Dictionary/brother.

[34] See, for example, 1 Thessalonians 5:12 in the NIV and NLT.

[35] D. A. Carson, The Inclusive-Language Debate: A Plea for Realism (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1998), 130–31.

[36] Personal correspondence with Dr. Kerry Hull, August 21, 2022.

[37] In Alma 5, Alma begins his sermon by addressing the people with “And now behold, I say unto you, my brethren” (verse 6) and then explains what he means by brethren: “you that belong to this church.” Later, in verse 49, he states that he was called to preach unto them, “my beloved brethren,” and again clarifies what he means by brethren: “every one that dwelleth in the land; yea, to preach unto all, both old and young, both bond and free; yea, I say unto you the aged, and also the middle aged, and the rising generation.”

[38] Fatima Salleh and Margaret Olsen Hemming, The Book of Mormon for the Least of These, Volume 2: Mosiah–Alma (n.p: By Common Consent, 2022), 117.

[39] Kylie Turley interprets this passage as signaling how Alma had changed after watching the burning of the women and the children—only now, after witnessing that awful event, does Alma choose to acknowledge the women explicitly. See Kylie Turley, “Alma's Hell: Repentance, Consequence, and the Lake of Fire and Brimstone,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 28, no. 1 (2019): 33–34. Joseph Spencer in turn uses this verse to explain how Alma may be concerned with addressing women after Korihor finds particular success among them. See Joseph M. Spencer, “Women and Nephite Men: Lessons from the Book of Alma,” in Give Ear to My Words: Text and Context of Alma 36–42, ed. Kerry M. Hull, Nicholas J. Frederick, and Hank R. Smith (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University; Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2019), 235–54.

[40] Bennion, “Women and the Book of Mormon,” 176–78.

[41] Williams, “Inclusion, Exclusion, and Interpretation,” 69; emphasis in original.

[42] Spencer, My Book of Mormon Sisters.

[43] Jerrie W. Hurd, Our Sisters in the Latter-day Scriptures (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1987), page.

[44] Fronk, Desert Epiphany, 6.

[45] Heather Farrell’s is the most extensive work written entirely on women in the Book of Mormon. See Heather Farrell, Walking with the Women of the Book of Mormon (Springville, UT: Cedar Fort, 2019). Heather B. Moore also covers the prominent women in the Book of Mormon, explaining cultural context with an attempt to relate modern women to the Book of Mormon heroines and female antagonists. See Heather B. Moore, Women of the Book of Mormon: Insights and Inspirations (American Fork: Covenant Communications, 2015). Francine R. Bennion summarizes every main mention of women in the Book of Mormon. She acknowledges that the women are “accessories to men” in the stories, but in the doctrine women are no less important, valued, or connected to God. She writes an apologetic to explain the gap between the doctrine and the Book of Mormon culture. See Bennion, “Women and the Book of Mormon,” 169–78. Other important works to note include Daniel C. Peterson, “Nephi and His Asherah,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 9, no. 2 (2000): 16–25; Kimberly M. Berkey and Joseph M. Spencer, “‘Great Cause to Mourn’: The Complexity of the Book of Mormon’s Presentation of Gender and Race,” in Fenton and Hickman, Americanist Approaches to the Book of Mormon, 298–320; and Robert A. Rees, “The Midrashic Imagination and the Book of Mormon,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 44, no. 3 (2011): 53–54. For a review of all the significant literature on gender in the Book of Mormon, see Joseph M. Spencer, “The Presentation of Gender in the Book of Mormon: A Review of Literature,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 29 (2020): 231–63.

[46] Seminaries and Institutes of Religion Curriculum Services, Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2017), 97.

[47] Fronk, Desert Epiphany, 12, 13.

[48] Fronk, Desert Epiphany, 14.

[49] Hurd, Our Sisters in the Latter-day Scriptures, 92.

[50] Russell M. Nelson and Wendy W. Nelson, “Hope of Israel,” worldwide youth devotional, June 3, 2018, https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/broadcasts/worldwide-devotional-for-young-adults/2018/06/hope-of-israel.

[51] Hurd, Our Sisters in the Latter-day Scriptures, page.

[52] Joseph M. Spencer, “Mothers, Daughters, Wives, and Women: Notes on Gender in First Nephi,” in The Anatomy of Book of Mormon Theology, vol. 1 (Draper, UT: Greg Kofford Books, 2021), 235.

[53] Jeffrey R. Holland, “Behold Thy Mother,” Ensign or Liahona, November 2015, 48.

[54] Phyllis Trible, “Depatriarchalizing in Biblical Interpretation,” Journal of the American Academy of Religion 41, no. 1 (1973): 30–48.

[55] Holland, “Behold Thy Mother,” 48.

[56] “This kind of resolute love ‘suffereth long, and is kind, . . . seeketh not her own, . . . but . . . beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.’ Most encouraging of all, such fidelity ‘never faileth.’ ‘For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed,’ Jehovah said, ‘but my kindness shall not depart from thee.’ So too say our mothers.” Holland, “Behold Thy Mother,” 48.

[57] Chieko N. Okazaki, Lighten Up! (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1993), 174.

[58] Jane Allis-Pike, “How Oft Would I Have Gathered You as a Hen Gathereth Her Chickens’: The Power of the Hen Metaphor in 3 Nephi 10:4–7,” in Third Nephi: An Incomparable Scripture, ed. Andrew C. Skinner and Gaye Strathearn (Provo, UT: Neal A. Maxwell Institute; Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2012), 57–74.

[59] Allis-Pike, “‘How Oft Would I Have Gathered You,’” 57–74.

[60] Williams, “Inclusion, Exclusion, and Interpretation,” 69.

[61] Neylan McBaine and Thomas A. Wayment, “Discussing Difficult Topics: The Representation of Women in Today’s Church,” Religious Educator 17, no. 2 (2016): 117.

[62] Gordon B. Hinckley, “The Women in Our Lives,” Ensign or Liahona, November 2004, 83.